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    Rlaswasmet's Avatar
    Rlaswasmet Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Mar 28, 2009, 05:51 PM
    Main Elect Panel/Grounding/Surge Problems
    About 14 months ago, the high voltage transformer on the utility pole shorted out during a rainstorm. Branches had also fallen over the wires. 12 seconds later, the current was restored but the resulting surge caused several appliances to burn out. (all hard wired smoke detectors had circuit boards fried, compressor on dehumidifier was knocked out, fan motor on furnace fried, dvd recorder & microwave also killed.

    Installed a whole house surge protector to prevent future occurrence.

    However, 2 days ago a similar outdoor transformer exploded, lost electricity and resulting surge not only killed whole house surge protector but killed electronics in digital coffe pot, burned out a low voltage halogen ligting system transformer and caused the circulator motor to begin (DRY) on indoor jacuzzi. Smell of burned bakelite by tub.

    My thoughts:

    A new whole house surge protector will also be ineffective because problem may be improper grounding of main elec panel. Have lived in house more than 25 years and only experienced this problem since total upgrade in electrical service from 100amp to 200amp a few years back. Main panel has green ground on wire on L2 nI eutral bar and passes through foundation opening and connects to a buried groun4 d pole. Could ground pole be
    Too short or somehow ineffective? Connections seem fine. Pole top is just below grade. Could installer have cheated by installing too short of a rod? Since I have no idea of current rod length, I intend to install a new copper 9 foot rod within 12 in of existing rod of unknown length and link both with 12 or 14ga wire.

    Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
    Uber Member

    Mar 28, 2009, 08:35 PM

    Right now, I'll make a comment on the first part of your post.

    1. Congrats on installing a whole house surge protector
    2. You should have purchased one with a protected equipment warranty.
    3. A whole house surge supressor will have a hard time protecting everything. Things like coffee pots have no incentive to have surge protection at all in them because it raises the price too much.
    Logic level devices that operate on say 5V have little tolerance for overloads, do it really doesn't surprise me.

    Without checking the code NEC/NFPA 70. You can check online too. Instructions are in the sticky in this section. Your intended ground rod spacing is too small and the suggested wire gage is too small too.
    stanfortyman's Avatar
    stanfortyman Posts: 5,602, Reputation: 279
    Electrical & Lighting Expert

    Mar 29, 2009, 05:55 AM
    If you are going to install another ground rod I would do it 6' away and jumper with #6cu. This way regardless if the other rod is the full 8' or not you still have a complaint installation.

    Even at 12" away, the #12 or #14 will do very little.
    Handyman2007's Avatar
    Handyman2007 Posts: 988, Reputation: 73
    Senior Member

    Jan 24, 2012, 08:38 PM
    I know it is 3 years later but did the Power company replace the transformer? I have seen surges but never like the ones you describe. Lightning or a lost neutral at the service entrance is most common cause. And to have TWO transformers fail seems unusual also.

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